Down and Out in Paris and London

by

George Orwell

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George Orwell works as a plongeur, or dishwasher, at both the Hotel X and Auberge in Paris. The job is back-breaking and, in Orwell’s estimation, completely without purpose. Plongeurs exist only because smart restaurants do and, given that such businesses are themselves useless, dishing up boulot rather than fulfilling real human needs, there is no reason a man should spend his life in such service.

Plongeur Quotes in Down and Out in Paris and London

The Down and Out in Paris and London quotes below are all either spoken by Plongeur or refer to Plongeur. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner Books edition of Down and Out in Paris and London published in 1972.
Chapter 14 Quotes

To a certain extent he is even dirty because he is an artist, for food, to look smart, needs dirty treatment.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Everywhere in the service quarters dirt festered—a secret vein of dirt running through the great, garish hotel like intestines through a man’s body.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 16 Quotes

There was—it is hard to express it—a sort of heavy contentment, the contentment a well-fed beast might feel, in a life which was so simple.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 17 Quotes

Most of my Saturday nights went in this way. On the whole, the two hours when one was perfectly and wildly happy seemed worth the subsequent headache. For many men in the quarter, unmarried and with no future to think of, the weekly drinking-bout was the one thing that made life worth living.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 22 Quotes

If plongeurs thought at all, they would long ago have formed a union and gone on strike for better treatment. But they do not think, because they have no leisure for it; their life has made slaves of them.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

People have a way of taking it for granted that all work is done for a sound purpose. They see somebody else doing a disagreeable job, and think that they have solved things by saying that the job is necessary.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Foreseeing some dismal Marxian Utopia as the alternative, the educated man prefers to keep things as they are. Possibly he does not like his fellow-rich very much, but he supposes that even the vulgarest of them are less inimical to his pleasures, more his kind of people, than the poor, and that he had better stand by them. It is this fear of a supposedly dangerous mob that makes nearly all intelligent people conservative in their opinion.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Plongeur Term Timeline in Down and Out in Paris and London

The timeline below shows where the term Plongeur appears in Down and Out in Paris and London. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
...the cellar, the temperature usually ranges between 110-130 degrees. The duties of Orwell’s job as plongeur are many and include making toast, boiling eggs, preparing coffee, rolling butter, and making sure... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
...p.m. The basement staff gets ten minutes for lunch, and when Orwell and his fellow plongeurs and waiters aren’t fetching meals from hot-tempered cooks, they are sweeping floors and polishing brass... (full context)
Chapter 13
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
...his status in the hotel’s elaborate caste system. Cooks are allowed mustaches. Waiters are not. Plongeurs must, therefore, be clean shaven because they are lower than waiters. Above the cooks is... (full context)
Chapter 14
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Plongeurs are, by nature, different. They are stuck in menial labor because their wages are too... (full context)
Chapter 16
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...convinced the restaurant will never open. Besides, he’s gotten used to the routine of the plongeur: the waking up before dawn, the hurrying through the Paris streets in greasy clothes to... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
The plongeur, says Orwell, knows only boulot, drinks, and sleep, and sleep is the most important of... (full context)
Chapter 19
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...it’s all worth it, for he will again be a waiter, rather than a lowly plongeur. (full context)
Chapter 22
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
...a life, Orwell ponders this question and comes up with a few answers—namely that the plongeur, with no leisure time, has not the freedom to even consider a different life. The... (full context)
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty is Unnecessary Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
The same can be said for plongeurs. What, after all, is the point of luxurious restaurants? Are they, indeed, necessary? Orwell argues... (full context)
Chapter 23
Poverty as Prison Theme Icon
Poverty as Opportunity Theme Icon
Honesty Does Not Pay Theme Icon
Freed from his work as a plongeur, Orwell spends his time prior to traveling to London sleeping, drinking beer at the Auberge,... (full context)